“From Categories to Edges: How Diversity Contributes to Linguistic Flexibility”
Dr. Ethan Kutlu, Adjunct Assistant Professor and Postdoctoral Research Scholar at the University of Iowa
Friday, January 27, 9:00–10:30 a.m. EST, in 127 Moore Building and virtually via Zoom
For many decades in the language sciences, exposure to variability was seen as noise, despite the variability observed across language users and communities. Theoretically, early bilingualism speech perception research adopted Categorical Perception, which assumes that early acquisition of a language is key in creating speech categories and that listeners ignore variation. Methodologically, tasks that were limited in assessing the fluidity in language processing were used to assess bilingual speech perception. Over the last decade, diverse bilingual communities (e.g., heritage speakers) have been spotlighted as examples of theoretical and methodological challenges in bilingualism research. These challenges necessitate research that is inclusive of variability in experimental language science research. In this talk, Ethan Kutlu will provide data from studies that centralize diversity with cutting-edge statistical, behavioral, social network, discourse analysis, eye-tracking, and EEG methods. In doing so, he will show that, when accounting for diversity, what was seen as noise becomes an observable part of language processing that is flexible and gradient.